How did smugglers put bags of pills inside onions?


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/07/27/how-did-smugglers-put-bags-of.html


#2

Nuts! I thought this was going to be a how-to video.


#3

Perhaps they pulled a sprout. if you let an onion sit in the sun it will sprout. The outer layers will also soften. You can then pull the sprouted portion out of the onion, put something inside, and then cut your sprout down and put it back in.

edit to add: sprouted onions can be had from a grower for very little money.


#4

Smuggling and onions, eh?

davos-okay


#5

Although the lack of a slicey noise when cutting into the cut that hides the drugs is a clue, I honestly can’t come up with a solution that looks that nice.

Here’s my guess, though:

  1. Take 2 onions of approximately the same size
  2. Peel the slightly larger of the two near the very end (not the part where the sprouts attach)
  3. After having carefully peeled away the ends to expose the inner layers, start cutting them inward, and hollowing the onion outward piece by piece.
  4. Continue carefully until you have a mostly hollow onion skin.
  5. Slice up the inner part of the other onion. Let’s say, start with quarter slices, removing the middle to make room for the pills.
  6. Peeling off the extra layers as needed to fit, put the first 2 quarters inside the hollow onion skin, then the pills, then the next 2 quarters
  7. Roll up the ends you’ve peeled away from the hole you used to hollow the first onion out.

What do you guys think? Plausible?


#6

I thought I knew everything there was to know about onions, but alas I am proved wrong.


#7

An empty bag can be pushed into the onion cavity, then filled with the aid of a funnel, sealed, and then concealed as previously described.


#8

I suspected sprout formation due to the green soft layers around the baggie. That’s a good indication of sprouting.


#9

Probably easier than my plan, which was somehow smoosh & remove the inner layers thru a small hole in the top of the onion, then insert rolled-up bag & inflate it, then insert the pills one by one. Either that, or teleport them in there somehow.


#10

There must be some way for the intended recipient to recognize which onions contain the goods; otherwise, the recipient is going to have a lot of cut onions. That’s not a bad thing, but it’s possibly a waste of good onions and labor, unless the smuggling operation is using a restaurant or some other professional kitchen as a distribution location.


#11

I think this seems the most likely method though it’s definitely very confounding. I wonder how they got busted? I presume a narcotics dog detected drugs in the batch, but i wonder if everything looks legitimate at a very close inspection or if there was something off about it. Is it policy to check a certain number of produce for drugs by cutting them open just in case?


#12

According to this CBP article “The CBP agriculture specialists work with specialized x-ray machines”. Perhaps they used one on this shipment.


#13

Interesting, i can imagine drugs or contraband being mixed in with other items such a produce. Bet they didn’t expect drugs to be inside some onions though :open_mouth:


#14

You’d get some interesting tales of food poisoning from an operation like that, I reckon. Or maybe the drugs in question break down into untraceable byproducts after heating and digestion?


#15

Could you grow the onions around the bag of pills somehow?


#16

This is quite a step up from the recent paper mache produce used for smuggling BB has posted about recently.


#17

Would be extremely unlikely. The bulbs themselves don’t form until later on in their growing cycle so trying to get the plant to grow around a large mass would most likely kill the plant. The easier thing would be to harvest the onions and then do whatever magic trick these guys did to hollow out the onions.


#18

Nobody seems to mention how the onions were discovered. Did dogs smell drugs? Was it just a random sampling of everything coming from certain locations? Did someone rat them out?


#19

Trying to perfect your drug smuggling produce venture, I see.


#20

It’ll all end in tears.